There are two great books on Forgiveness that I highly recommend:
Forgiveness ~ How To Make Peace With Your Past And Get On With Your Life by Dr. Sidney B. Simon and Suzanne Simon (ISBN 0-446-39259-6)
~ Based on their popular "Forgiveness" seminar, the author of Getting Unstuck and his wife designed to help readers let go of their pain and get on with their lives.
What Forgiveness Is Not
Forgiveness is not forgetting.
Forgiveness is not condoning.
Forgiveness is not absolution.
Forgiveness is not a form of self-sacrifice.
Forgiveness is not a clear-cut, one-time decision.
What Forgiveness Is
Forgiveness is a by-product of an ongoing healing process.
Forgiveness is an internal process.
Forgiveness is a sign of positive self-esteem.
Forgiveness is letting go of the intense emotions attached to incidents from our past.
Forgiveness is recognizing that we no longer need our grudges and resentments, our hatred and self-pity.
Forgiveness is no longer wanting to punish the people who hurt us.
Forgiveness is accepting that nothing we do to punish them will heal us.
Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds.
Forgiveness is moving on.
How Can I Forgive You? The Courage To Forgive, The Freedom Not To by Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D. (ISBN 0-06-000390-6)
~ Using illustrative material from her nearly 30 years as a therapist, the author outlines four approaches to forgiveness: (1) cheap forgiveness, which she sees as an inauthentic act of peacekeeping that resolves nothing; (2) refusing to forgive, which is categorized as a rigid response that keeps one entombed in hate; (3) acceptance, which is a healing gift that asks nothing of the offender; and (4) genuine forgiveness, which the author describes as a healing transaction and an intimate dance. Spring has discovered that we are all looking for "some new approach, that frees us from the corrosive effects of hate, gives voice to the injustice, and helps us to make peace with the person who hurt us and with ourselves." This self-help book is aimed at those who have done wrong and those who have been wronged.
page 136 about encouraging the person you hurt to share her pain:
If you're a conflict avoider, her silence will seem preferable to her rage. But don't be fooled. Muffled pain is just as problematic as uncontrollable fury, and perhaps even more dysfunctional. If you don't draw her out and encourage her to talk through her injury, she'll never get close to you or forgive you.
I can't stress this point enough: no conflict, no closeness.
If you want to rebuild the bond, you, the offender, must regularly invite and embolden her to reveal how deeply you have hurt her. This opening up to you is an act of intimacy, a first step in lowering the barrier between you. Detachment may be her protection. But what may be protective to her is likely to be a death knell for the relationship.
Acceptance is not a failure to forgive but an equally powerful way of healing an injury when the person who hurt you fails to participate in the process. Acceptance is not an inferior, immature, or morally deficient reaction. It is a wise and proactive alternative. You can’t draw blood from a stone, but you can accept an unrepentant offender.
Acceptance is a process you enter into primarily to free yourself from the trauma of an injury. Your goal is not necessarily forgiveness. Your goal is emotional resolution, the restoration of your best self, the rekindling of meaning and value in your life….
Acceptance supports not only your resolution of the past but your vision of the future….
The process of Acceptance can help you…not only to survive trauma but to learn from it and grow. It’s not, as some people say, that the injury changes you for the better, it’s that your understanding of the injury changes you for the better. As you resolve old conflicts and confront how they contaminate your responses today, you create new possibilities that integrate and empower your most resilient self.
Replacing Shame with Empathy (pg. 68)
Shame comes when you think that his behavior is about you....Shame lifts when you realize that his behavior is about him.
Guilt and Shame (pg. 133)(The Offender)
Guilt is a response to a specific behavior -- one you wish to correct. Shame is a negative response to yourself as a person. You feel guilt for doing bad; you feel shame for being bad.
Humiliation and Shame(pg. 189)
It's important to distinguish between humiliation and shame. Humiliation is a condition imposed on you by the offender. Shame, in contrast, refers to your inner experience of yourself as unworthy. When someone injures you, humiliation and shame can become blurred. You confuse his hurtful, demeaning behavior with your private sense of who you are.